Science and Innovation

Science and Innovation

Rethinking the Rationales for Funding and Governance

New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series

Edited by Aldo Geuna, Ammon J. Salter and W. Edward Steinmueller

This book re-examines the rationale for public policy, concluding that the prevailing ‘public knowledge’ model is evolving towards a networked or distributed model of knowledge production and use in which public and private institutions play complementary roles. It provides a set of tools and models to assess the impact of the new network model of funding and governance, and argues that governments need to adapt their funding and administrative priorities and procedures to support the emergence and healthy growth of research networks. The book goes on to explain that interdependencies and complementarities in the production and distribution of knowledge require a new and more contextual, flexible and complex approach to government funding, monitoring and assessment.

Chapter 7: Research Productivity and the Allocation of Resources in Publicly Funded Research Programmes

Fabrizio Cesaroni and Alfonso Gambardella

Subjects: innovation and technology, innovation policy


Fabrizio Cesaroni and Alfonso Gambardella* 1 INTRODUCTION It is widely recognized that in recent years, many universities and other public research laboratories have generally been promoting efforts aimed at the exploitation of research results and their competencies (for the European case, see European Commission 1996). To this end, many different strategies have been implemented – for example, science parks, research consortia, licences, collaborations, spinoff companies and so on. In general terms, a change can be seen in the missions of public research centres towards more entrepreneurial activities (Etzkowitz et al. 1998). One of the factors that have boosted this trend is the decrease and change in funding sources for universities and other public research centres (Geuna 2001). None the less, the largest share of research funding to these organizations still comes from publicly funded research programmes, which allocate available resources among research groups according to specific objectives and goals – to achieve scientific excellence in specific fields, to create a critical mass of knowledge and research competency in specific areas, to promote the industrial transferability of research and so on. The increasing budget constraints that governments in developed countries are facing in recent years have made this process of resource allocation to science increasingly questionable. Apart from the proportion of the public budget devoted to activities not directly linked to countries’ economic performance and firms’ profitability and productivity, what is mostly discussed is the possibility that institutional mechanisms of resource allocations have a direct impact...

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